Greens call on Government to scrap ‘destructive’ Heritage Bill

9th November 2017

Green Party Deputy Leader and TD for Dublin Rathdown, Catherine Martin has today called on the Government to scrap the ‘destructive’ Heritage Bill, saying the Bill is nothing short of ‘environmental sabotage’.
Speaking in the Dáil last night, Deputy Martin said: “I am taken aback that Minister Humphreys would call on us to sanction the destruction of our beautiful habitats, our indigenous wildlife and our natural heritage. I was hoping, with hope more than expectation, that the wild fires which raged out of control over the past year would have woken up this Government and the Heritage Minister to the scale, urgency and gravity of the problem. 
“Upland areas across the nation have been set alight. We have watched in horror throughout this year as over 1,500 hectares of forestry and 2,000 hectares of bog land were devastated by fire in Connemara, as the lake at Gougánbarra glowed with the reflection of roaring flames and the fires have roared even closer to home in my own constituency of Dublin Rathdown in Ticknock. This government is not just content at at destroying our uplands, but is also hell bent on attacking our hedgerows and the wealth of wildlife to which they are home.
 “In just under two months, from March 24th to May 22nd of this year, the Irish Wildlife Trust recorded 97 illegal wildfires in rural areas. 39 of these were in special conservation areas which are protected by EU habitats legislation.
Speaking in advance of  today’s Dáil vote on the Heritage Bill Deputy Martin has called on Fianna Fáil to help quash this bill once and for all. Deputy Martin said “Fianna Fáil has an opportunity today to be a real party of opposition. They have an opportunity to hold this government to account and to safeguard and protect the future of the Irish countryside. I call on Fianna Fáil to seize this opportunity and do right by this nation.
“It is incumbent on us all, party and non-party, to protect our environment, to fight for it and to call out lazy, destructive pandering to a few who have no regard for the huge and far-reaching destructive consequences of such damaging legislation. We need leadership, courageous leadership, to face down vested interests in order to protect our heritage. Extending the burning season is not leadership. We’re calling on the Government to see sense before it’s too late, and withdraw the Heritage Bill once and for all.”